Fairfield County Council held a specially called work session meeting Wednesday night to discuss county participation in the formation of a regional water authority for Fairfield County.
The meeting was prompted by a letter Chairman David Ferguson received from Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy.
In the letter Gaddy assumed that Fairfield County had chosen not to participate in the process and cited the county council members’ lack of attendance at a July 9 regional water authority discussion meeting as proof of his assumption.
He wrote to inform the council of how the Charter Committee will proceed in functioning as it seeks to form a regional water authority.
This letter led to a great deal of discussion among county council members, according to Deputy County Administrator Davis Anderson.
He said that council members decided they should contact the town and see about the next meeting and that county council, contrary to the letter’s assertions, is interested in being a partner to meet to form a water authority.
Anderson said the council members would like to engage in more discussion of the details and ins and outs of the proposal.
County council clarified that the lack of representation had to do with a meeting scheduling conflict. Members could not participate on July 9 because the county council meeting already had been set and there were action items on that agenda that had to be handled at that time.
Anderson said council members would like to attend future meetings provided those meetings do not conflict with the county council meeting schedule which the council approved in January.
Gaddy’s letter summarized the two-phase plan by which a Charter Committee consisting of two voting members from each water system, would establish a regional water authority.
Gaddy said that, “the Charter Committee will create a legal entity authorized to issue bonds, own, operate and maintain waterlines, pumps, treatment facilities, or other items necessary for, or convenient to, the collection of raw water, its treatment and wholesale distribution of both untreated and treated potable water.”
Bond counsel Margaret C. Pope will be retained by the Charter Committee. Once the water distribution members of the regional water authority have a charter, phase two would involve designing the infrastructure required and to issue bonds for the project.
Winnsboro Town Manger Don Wood is collecting names for voting representative and a non-voting representative from each water system at this time.
Under the plan Gaddy outlined, members of a water company may elect to opt out of the regional water authority and may charter their own regional water supply authority, “provided the two governing bodies agree to approve the bylaws, contracts and ordinances proposed by the Charter Committee.”
It is hoped that potential conflicts can be limited and that county council and town council can found common ground on the water authority issue.